What Does Snare Mean In The Bible

The word ‘snare’ is often heard in relation to the Bible, but what does it mean? To understand what ‘snare’ means in the Bible, it’s important to look at its usage in the Ancient Hebrew and Greek languages, as well as understand the context in which the word is used.

The Hebrew and Greek words for ‘snare’ or ‘trap’ are qesem and pagis respectively. These words are both found throughout the Old and New Testament. The usage of qesem appears more strongly in the Old Testament as a metaphor for danger and a means of capture by hunters. According to Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz, “In the Bible, snare refers to a device used by hunters to capture animals”. In the New Testament, pagis can take on the same meanings, but is also a representation of spiritual entrapment by evil forces.

In biblical contexts, those who use snares set them with bad intent. Even though snares symbolize a form of physical or spiritual captivity, they can also have a positive connotation in the Bible. For example, Psalm 18:5 reads “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow”. Here, salvation is represented through the use of a snare, with God protecting and delivering the individual from danger and sorrow.

In the Bible, snares often refer to spiritual or ethical traps. In the parable of the prodigal son, the father warns his son of the life of going astray, warning him saying “I can’t save you from the sins you will commit if you abandon the right path”. The father’s warning serves as a snare, to protect the son from going astray and facing the consequent punishment.

In the book of Proverbs, oftentimes snares are warnings to the reader. For example, the verse Proverbs 7:23 says, “For the commands of the Lord are sounds that can protect us from snares”. This verse is a warning to the reader that adhering to God’s orders is the only way to stay clear of the trappings of sin and other destructive forces.

Fatal Traps

In the Old Testament, there is an example of a fatal snare where the Lord warns his people of the snares of idolatry. In Deuteronomy 7:26, God promises to “send against them snares, famine, and disease until they are destroyed from the land” if the children of Israel fall into the trap of worshipping other gods. This serves as a warning to the Israelites of what can happen if they forget the Lord and start worshipping idols.

The Lord also uses snares to punish those who seek to harm his people. In Judges 8:7, Gideon sets snares on the Midianites and then traps them in a winepress, which metaphorically serves as an eternal damnation for their terrible crimes. This is an example of the Lord using snares as a form of justice for evil-doers.

Snares also appear in the prophetic books, where the Lord warns the citizens of Israel of the dangers of the future. In Isaiah 8:14, the Lord states that “he will be a snare on all their faces and a trap on all their backs”, which serves as a warning to those who oppose God’s divine plan.


In the book of Job, a man named Job is tested by God and experiences a series of misfortunes, which the Lord refers to as “many snares”. This serves as an example of how snares can represent destructive forces, as well as an illustration of God testing those around him.

The book of Esther also uses snares as a metaphor for danger. In Esther 7: 6, the King’s vizier warns Esther of the dangers of standing up to the King, saying that “Your enemies have devised a snare for you, desiring to take away your honor”. This serves as an illustration of the absurd power of royalty, and the danger that mortal humans face when standing up to them.

The book of Revelation also uses snares to warn of the ultimate danger that awaits those who do not repent their sins and accept the salvation of the Lord. In Revelation 18:11, the messenger says “And the merchants of the world will weep and mourn over her,” referring to the “snare” of the harlot city, Babylon. This serves as a warning of the dangers of sin and of allowing oneself to get trapped in spiritual entrapment.

Satan’s Snares

Throughout the Bible, snares are frequently used to refer to Satan, who is seen as one who sets snares to entangle and deceive humans. In Revelation 12:10, the angels are told to “Behold, I give unto you the power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy”, referring to Satan and those who follow him who set snares to deceive people.

The book of Romans also speaks of Satan using snares to ensnare and deceive. In Romans 7:11, Paul states that “sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, deceived me and by it killed me”, referring to the “snares” that Satan had set to ensnare and defeat those who do not follow the path of righteousness.

The book of Isaiah also speaks of Satan’s power to set snares. In Isaiah 28:15 it says “Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads”. This is referring to the snares that Satan sets to mislead and hurt God’s people, but that the Lord can protect even the most vulnerable against such threats.


In conclusion, ‘snare’ often serves as a metaphor for physical, spiritual, or ethical traps throughout the Bible. It is important to understand the context in which the word is used, as it can have a positive meaning where it denotes divine protection, as well as a negative meaning when it is used to refer to the power of Satan and sin.

God’s Protection

The Bible also speaks of God’s protection from the snares of evil. In Proverbs 11:14, it reads “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety”. This serves as an encouragement to seek guidance and walk in righteousness to avoid those snares.

The Bible also speaks of God’s protection against the snares of the enemy. In Psalm 22:11 it states “Be not far from me, for trouble is near,” referring to the snare of the enemy. This verse serves as a reminder to seek the Lord’s protection and to be aware of the destructions of the enemy.

On the other hand, the Bible also speaks of the potential of being purified by the Lord, using the image of snares to exemplify the process. In Psalm 69:22, the Psalmist speaks of being purified by God, saying: “Save me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, and out of the deep waters”. Here, the deep waters represent the snare of sin, but the verse ends with redemption, a reminder that the Lord has the power to deliver and save those who seek refuge.


The Bible also speaks of hope even in the midst of seemingly inescapable snares. In Jeremiah 32:13, Jeremiah speaks of God’s deliverance in a seemingly hopeless situation, saying: “And you have caused them to trust in a false hope”. Here, Jeremiah refers to the snare of false hope, where people are ensnared into trusting in something that does not offer salvation.

Psalm 91:3 also speaks of hope even in the midst of danger. It states, “For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler”, a metaphor for how God can protect and save those who trust in him and “hide in the secret place of His presence”. Here, God is seen as the hope-bringer who can bring salvation even in the midst of the trappings of danger.

In the Bible, snares can refer to a number of dangerous scenarios, ranging from physical to spiritual entrapment. However, the most important thing to remember is that God is the ultimate deliverer and that through Him, all snares can be broken and true hope and salvation can be found.

Life Examples

In life, snares often take on a personal meaning. For example, an individual may be ensnared in the trap of drugs or alcohol, or be pulled into a lifestyle that is full of sin and sorrow. In these cases, the snares can be broken through the power of God, who has the power to deliver and protect those who seek Him.

On the other hand, an individual may be ensnared in the snare of apathy or complacency, where he or she allows themselves to fall into a state of lethargy, numbness, or carelessness. In these cases, one must seek the saving power of God to break free from the snare of laziness, which can be a slippery slope leading to spiritual and physical harm.

In addition, one may be entrapped in various relationships, which could lead to dangerous situations both spiritually and physically. In these cases, one must be aware of the snares that these relationships can bring and take refuge in God, who will protect and deliver those who trust in Him.

Finally, one may feel as if he or she is caught in a never-ending maze of suffering, with no way out. Here, one must also seek the saving power of God to break free from the snares of life’s sufferings, understanding that only He can provide the ultimate refuge and deliverance.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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